Looking at Who’s Upbeat (or Not) About the New Year

Like other goods, optimism about 2010 is unevenly distributed. In The Economist/
YouGov polling late last month, 17 percent of respondents said they’re “very optimistic” about how 2010 will be for themselves and their families; 38 percent said they’re “somewhat optimistic.” Fifteen percent were “somewhat pessimistic” and 7 percent “very pessimistic” on that score. (The rest were neither optimistic nor pessimistic.)

Young adults were more likely than their elders to feel upbeat about what 2010 will mean to them. Among the survey’s 18-29-year-olds, 26 percent said they’re “very optimistic” and 40 percent “somewhat optimistic” about it. The figures fell to 15 percent “very” and 39 percent “somewhat” optimistic in the broad 30-64 age bracket and to 10 percent “very” and 36 percent “somewhat” among the 65-plusers.

In a breakdown by race and ethnicity, the “very optimistic” tally was far higher among black respondents (37 percent) than among whites (13 percent) or Hispanics (20 percent). As for income, there was just a modest gap in the “very optimistic” vote between respondents in the $100,000-plus cohort (20 percent) and those in the $40,000-100,000 range (18 percent). But such upbeat sentiment was less common among those making under $40,000 (13 percent).